Knee-deep mud and no drinking water — that’s how some festival goers at Mangawhai’s Northern Bass described their New Year’s Eve after rain lashed the event.

Organisers of the three-day festival have refuted some accusations but admitted that “out of the blue” heavy rain had made it their most challenging year yet.

Several event attendees, who spoke to 1News, described a damp and muddy experience. The festival is held on a farm in the summer hotspot of Mangawhai.

Annabelle Limbrick and Lauren Smith both attended the festival from Christchurch.

The pair said they had issues getting their cars out of the ankle-deep mud after the festival and had trouble accessing drinking water during the event.

“Our mates have had to take off their shirts and try and push [cars] out of the mud,” Smith said. “There were certainly water issues. There were water issues from day one when there were no vessels to drink the water from. They just had taps.”

Northern Bass Festival in Mangawhai, Northland

Although the pair said they still had fun, they did expect better organisation. From where the pair were, Limbrick said the event appeared to run “out of water” on the final night, which meant they couldn’t access showers or drinking water.

She said they felt the event needed more staff.

“We were at Rhythm and Vines last year — day one was a similar situation, lots of rain, lots of mud. And by day two it was sorted so smoothly”.

Smith said: “We’re not expecting luxury, but the bare minimum would have been a bit nicer.”

Another festival attendee said they saw mud everywhere” and felt they had no communication from event organisers about issues.

Speaking to 1News, Northern Bass organiser Gareth Popham said, “there was never actually a point on site where there was no water.”

But Popham said one of their water suppliers had some issues with the quality of the water, which “cut down on how much water we could quickly get to the site”.

“There was more of a problem with certain water points in the festival that went out. We also mobilised teams as quickly as we could.

“We gave out a lot of free water over the course of the three days.”

But the organiser said this year was the most challenging yet for the festival.

“We’ve been here for 12 years on this farm. This was definitely the hardest year. The most adverse weather and the really adverse side of it did come out of the blue.”

Despite the challenge, Popham said there was still an appetite for the festival, and if they were to cancel, some ticket holders would have been “really upset”.

“There were over 10,000 people here [last night], and a lot of them are two and three-day tickets. If they came back on the third night, they already knew what was happening.”

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